While you might not need to use a lawyer to get a default divorce, there are times when you need expert legal help during this process. When should you talk to a lawyer?
You Want A Fast Resolution
Default divorces often go through faster than other divorces. Here, one spouse files for divorce; however, the other spouse doesn't contest the application. A judge then approves the divorce based on the initial application and the lack of response from the non-filing partner.
While fast, this type of divorce does require some paperwork. You have to source and file the right documents. You still have to serve papers to your spouse and follow a specific notification process.
A lawyer can help you keep things moving. They will make sure that your application is correct and that you follow all the necessary steps.
You Need a Settlement Agreement
Some people use a default divorce because they can't locate their spouses or can't persuade them to sign divorce papers. However, some counties and states allow couples to take this route when they are both present and willing to divorce.
Here, both of you will have agreed to get a divorce. You take an uncontested route to speed things up and keep your costs low. So, one of you will file; the other won't respond. The court will rule on the single uncontested application.
However, if you use this option, then you might have to set up a settlement agreement between yourselves before a judge will grant your divorce. Hiring a lawyer at this stage is a good idea.
They will make sure that your agreement meets the necessary criteria. They can produce the formal documentation you need.
You Don't Agree With Divorce Terms
If your spouse wants to file for divorce, and you don't want to, then you might not want to sign your divorce papers. However, if your spouse then applies for a default divorce, you give them control over the final separation agreement.
They can outline financial, property, assets, and childcare arrangements. You could lose out if they don't divide everything fairly.
At this stage, you should engage a lawyer to find out how to change the process in your favor. Ideally, you should do this before your spouse formally files or before your case reaches court.
However, you can sometimes undo parts of an agreement after a divorce is finalized by applying for a set-aside ruling. Again, you need to talk to a lawyer about your options here. Set-aside rulings have various regulations and can be complex to manage.
Contact a divorce lawyer to learn more.